General, Research, Technology

Maps of ancient cities can be made without even excavating

Right now, under the place where you are,lay ancient objects or even entire buildings. Every year, archaeologists discover hundreds of places under which entire cities were once located long ago, but they do not immediately undertake excavations. And all because many people are needed to carry out such work, and not so many people want to. In addition, during excavations, ancient objects with a high degree of probability will be broken, and it is not only the carelessness of archaeologists - most of the artifacts are simply rotten and fall apart before our eyes. In addition, some historic sites lie beneath modern buildings - so what, do they need to be demolished? Well, I do not. Fortunately, archaeologists have a tool that allows you to discover the ancient cities remaining under the layers of the earth without conducting any excavations.

You can find out what ancient cities looked like without archaeological excavations.

What is ground penetrating radar?

The name of this tool is georadar. The first working copies of this unit werepresented in the 1970s and intended to detect underwater objects. Soon even archaeologists began to use the tool, because they were just looking for things that are hundreds of meters underground. It seems that georadars were directly created for archaeological searches.

GPR design consists of three parts:

  • antenna part;
  • computer for registration of finds;
  • control unit.

The antenna part consists of a transmitting andreceiving antenna. To register the finds, a computer is used, or rather, a laptop, because researchers can easily take it with them wherever they go. The control unit consists of various cables for transmitting information.

This is what modern georadar looks like. Judging by the photo, instead of a laptop, it uses a tablet

The principle of the GPR is quite simple. The so-called transmit antenna sends underground electromagnetic wave. If there is nothing beneath the earth’s surfaceinteresting, the wave disappears. And if there is something there - it is reflected from the underground object directly into the receiving antenna. The received information is sent to a computer, where it is registered in a special program.

Electromagnetic wave - These are vibrations that create electric and magnetic fields. They obey all the laws of waves, that is, they can be scattered, absorbed, reflected, and so on.

Archaeological work

The price of georadars exceeds 100 thousand rubles, sothat not everyone can afford it for entertainment. But scientists are not afraid of such a cost, because this device significantly simplifies their work. According to the scientific journal Antiquity, georadar recently helped archaeologists explore the previously unexplored part of the ancient Roman city of Faleri Novi, which is located 50 kilometers from the capital of Italy, Rome.

Faleri Novi was discovered relatively long ago, but recently researchers have found another part of the city that still remains underground

It is believed that this ancient city was founded in241 BC and has been a busy settlement for thousands of years. The area of ​​the recently discovered part of this city is 30.5 hectares, but it is still underground - archaeologists have not excavated it yet. But how did they find out that the ancient city has one more part? Of course, using georadar.

One of the researchers and their georadar

Archaeologists placed the georadar on a cart and examinedthe entire territory on which the city was supposed to be. With the help of electromagnetic waves sent deep into the earth, the researchers found out, to within 12.5 centimeters, where the baths, the temple, the market and other objects were located in the city. They even managed to find a water supply network - the map of the ancient city turned out to be very detailed.

This is how the map of the excavated part of the ancient Roman city of Falerii Novi looks like

After studying the map, scientists made a very interestingdiscovery - it turns out that small ancient Roman cities like Faleria Novi were very developed. The temple, the market, and even the baths had a surprisingly complex structure, although initially the researchers expected to find simple structures. However, it is entirely possible that the settlement was originally modest - thanks to GPR, scientists found evidence that large structures were erected on the site of simple buildings. Most likely, the most ancient buildings of the city were dismantled, and the stones used for their construction were useful in the construction of more modern buildings.

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The benefits of ground penetrating radars have also recently been mentioned by mycolleague Artem Sutyagin. In his material, he told how this device helped scientists find underground the remains of a 20-meter ship on which the Vikings sailed thousands of years ago.